Arunachal fish farmer shows the way to others

Itanagar: A farmer in Arunachal Pradesh who farms fish scientifically has become a source of inspiration for others.

Nokkai Wangjen of Dasathong village in Kanubari circle of insurgency-hit Longding district has studied only up to six standard, but earns about Rs two lakh annually from fish farming which he started with an initial investment of Rs 80,000.

Wangjen rears fish like rohu, mrigal, catla and grass carp and sells his produce locally and in neighbouring Assam.

He started scientific fish farming in 2005 and receives logistics support like training, fish seeds, fish feeds and medicines from the department of Fisheries, Khonsa and Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Deomali.

He trains fellow villagers and urges them to farm fish instead of carrying on with destructive and unproductive jhum cultivation. "There are also many people in our state, who destroy aquatic life in rivers and streams by using poison and explosives," the fish farmer says.

"They should use traditional methods of fishing which is sustainable and eco-friendly," Wangjen, a proud owner of five well-maintained fish ponds in about two hectare with a total capacity of rearing 10,000 fish seedlings, says.

He has traveled across the country to acquaint himself with the intricacies of scientific fish farming to improve his techniques and productivity to generate more income.

"A self-employed, successful fish farmer like Wangjen is indeed an inspiration for the people of Tirap and Longding and also the state," Water Resources Development Minister Newlai Tingkhatra who represents Kanubari constituency says.

"People in Tirap and Longding districts who seem to have excuses because of unfavorable law and order scenario, must learn from Wangjen. If Wangjen can, they too can prosper," district information and public relation officer Dehhang Bosai, says.

Apart from the fish ponds, Wangjen also raises ducks and pigs and also has a small tea garden that fetch him extra income.

Though Wangjen could not pursue his studies, he has been able to educate his children. He has three sons and a daughter. Two of his sons have joined the Arunachal Pradesh Police recently.

Wangjen`s effort has been recognized by the Directorate of Coldwater Fisheries Research, ICAR, Bhimtal and he was presented with an award for progressive fish farming on June 6, 2011.

He has also won many district and state level prizes. "The state government to encourage fish farming offers facilities and finances, but regrettably people are not attracted towards this industry," Fisheries minister Rajesh Tacho adds.